Photo Credit: The Paris Review

The Origins Of Stockton's Nickname: 'Fat City'

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If you're a local Stocktonian, you know Stockton, California is also known as "Fat City". What you may not know is why "Fat City". We dove into the history of Stockton, California (aka "Fat City"), so you don't have to. Keep reading to learn about the origins of "Fat City". 

It all started in 1850 when Stockton, California, was officially incorporated. The Tachi Yokut Tribe was the San Joaquin County Natives who resided in the area, prior to it becoming an official city. Following the displacement of the citizens of the land, Stockton became incorporated by a German immigrant. 

Diversity was a building pillar of Stockton, California, as gold seekers swarming into the new city came from different backgrounds. Early settler gold seekers included people from Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, Pacific Islands, Mexico, and Canada. Gold mining in the Sierra hills allowed for the economy to thrive as businesses supporting gold mining were founded. The economic focus surrounded gold mining, up until the focus shifted to the wheat fields in the 1960's. The Waterfront Industry was established in 1852 lasting until 1890. 

Fast forward to 1969. The year Leonard Garner wrote his award-winning novel titled "Fat City". The novel centered around two brothers trying to make it in the boxing space in Stockton, California - Billy Tully and Ernie Munger. Gardner who was raised in Stockton, which was the inspiration behind his novel. The novel positioned Stockton, California as a boxing champion breeding ground and Stockton, California became... FAT CITY. In an interview, Leonard Gardner mentioned "Fat City" is slang for good life. More than a novel about boxing, "Fat City" is a story of hope, illusion, and love. Leonard Gardner now resides in Marin County. 

Just like the characters in "Fat City" (the novel), Stockton, California has many stories as Fat City was built on a strong boxing scene, diversity, and resilient locals. Here's to continuously advocating for Stocktonians to live the good life!

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